Good morning! Closer and closer, soon we will be sharing breakfast with them
Saturday, 26 September 2020
Friday, 25 September 2020
We have opened the gate from the horse pasture so the horses and donkey can wander freely on the finca, they are taking full advantage, munching on all the summer dried hay. Lovely to see them close to the cortijo, they come to say hello in the evening and maybe get an extra treat of dried figs or old bread.
Saturday, 12 September 2020
This is a rather long trip for one day but can be split into two separate trips as there is a lot to see.
From the finca we went straight to Caceres and then on to the turn off at Cañaveral, then into the sierra to reach the quaint hamlet of Villa de Arco with its perfect white washed church, mountain spring water running in the steets and an aire of being untouched for centuries. We left early, straight on to the autovia to Caceres and then continued to the exit for CAÑAVERAL
The best way to approach is by walking from the turn off camino on the right just before the village, very charming entrance straight into the heart of the village.
Here is an earlier post with a lot more photos, especially of the church and views.
On to Coria but two stops on the way which are both well worth the time.
1. Palancar at Pedroso de Acim is a tiny monastery where San Pedro de Alcantara stayed, it is a turn off the road to left once on road to Coria.
Detailed information here
2. The pottery in Torrejoncillo, Tinajas de Moreno, they make the huge wine alibaba pots and clay bread ovens as well as small ceramic items and tiles
Coria a very under estimated historical town on the Alagón river, a strategic point founded by the Romans in the first century with large stretches of Roman walls still existing, further embellished by suceeding cultures, Visigoths, Moors and re-conquista Christians.The whole of the old town is very atmospheric within the ancient walls with 4 original entrance gates. It is now famous for the running of the bulls during the feast of San Juan in June, bulls are well represented everywhere.The 16th century cathedral has just been renovated and has an interesting museum. Good places to eat and drink with a restaurant and bar terraça at the archbishop's palace overlooking the river.
Here is an early post about Coria which also includes a side trip to the wonderful Trevejo castle.
At this point one can return to Caceres and Finca al-manzil or continue to Alcántara with its eponymous Roman bridge, named by the Moors al-Qanṭarah (القنطرة) meaning "the bridge". A really interesting town also famous for being the birth place of San Pedro de Alcántara in 1499.
Alcántara Bridge, of six symmetrical arches, 194 m long and 71 m high, built in honour of Trajan in 103-106. An inscription gives the name of the architect of the viaduct, C. Iulius Lacer.
Convent of San Benito de Alcántara (16th century)
Church of Holy Mother of Almocobar (13th century)
Remains of the Moorish walls, modified and restored in the Middle Ages
Convent of St. Francis (15th-17th centuries)
Convent of the Nuns of Los Remedios, of which only the Baroque Chapel remains
Here are more places to visit from Alcántara
Route Map of this trip
Friday, 17 July 2020
I can see Diane Arbus as a strong influence, in fact I think she out -Arbuses Arbus.
Strangely I see Goya very strongly, the same eye for the grotesque and pictorial satire especially against the church. This is one of the black paintings depicting the romero of San Isidro, you can see faces like this in the photographs taken in 1970s Spain.
Friday, 10 July 2020
Two Iconic films made about Las Hurdes in the 20th century.
The first is a record of the visit made by Alfonso XIII in 1922 accompanied by doctors and clergy. The images could be of medieval peasants living in extreme poverty and destitution. The statistics are awesome, thousands of people dying of starvation and disease, 15 children in every 100 born as what they describe as "cretinos" cruelly afflicted by congenital extreme mental and physical disorders. Goitre was extremely common due to iodine deficiency.
The second film is Tierra sin pan , Land without bread, a documentary made by Buñuel in 1933. Obviously not much has changed since the royal visit of 1922. It is haunting work with its strange images of goats crashing down a ravine and a donkey being covered in honey by fallen hives and stung to death by thousands of bees, the corpse of a baby being transported over rough terrain and a river to bury it in the nearest graveyard;mentally afflicted boys leering into the camera as they jabber unintelligibly; a seemingly old woman with a goitre, breast feeding a baby, in fact the woman is only in her 30s ; frightening and disturbing images from the master of surrealism.
But look more carefully, Tierra sin pan is a film which breaks down the distinction between fiction and documentary. Many commentators have said that the voice-over narration and the particular subjects Buñuel chose to depict simply parody the documentary genre. However, at this point in the history of cinema the documentary mode was in its infancy. Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North: a story of life and love in the arctic (1922) was probably the most well-known film from this genre and there weren’t many others out there. The documentary as a genre didn’t have a fixed set of syntactic conventions that would have been available for film makers like Buñuel and his contemporaries to take as raw material for a parody. Like the grandmaster of contemporary cinema, Abbas Kiarostami, Buñuel does not believe in any fixed boundary between fiction and non-fiction film making.
However, one argument that Buñuel was parodying the documentary mode is the droll and sardonic voice-over juxtaposed with the terrible images on the screen. Actually the original film was completely silent. Bunuel provided the narration live during screenings. Abel Jacquin was hired to read the French voice-over in 1935 which was cut into the film along with sections of Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 4.
The voice-over is detached and uninterested, casually remarking on disease and death but it is not a mere parody, Buñuel subverts the documentary, it becomes a propaganda film. Several sequences in the film were staged for effect, the falling goat and the bee stung donkey. Bunuel anticipated many future experiments with the documentary mode that wouldn’t come for another thirty years in the history of cinema, he transgressed the fiction/documentary boundary to indite both the Catholic church and the Spanish for allowing a place like Las Hurdes to exist, a real hell on earth.
This film was banned upon it’s release. Buñuel would go on to produce films for the Spanish Republics film industry: Don Quintin el Amargo, La Hija de Juan Simon, Quien Me Quieri A Mi? and Centinela Alerta. In 1937 he produced a Civil War documentary called Madrid 1936 (or Espana Leal en Armas) but he did not consider these as part of his artistic ouvre.
You may also wish to see this, it's an animated film of the making of Tierra sin pan
And finally, a little video about Las Hurdes today
Saturday, 27 June 2020
Inspired by images from 30 years of travelling to North Africa ; Morocco, Tunisia and Mali.
A little art project, purely decorative, no pretensions. A refuge during these long days,an imaginary village created with paper, oil paint, glue, oil crayons, chalk, bits of an ancient lampshade made of gilded card, hand made khadi rag paper bought in India and an old Spanish Law book from 1930 with aged yellow pages : on two boards.
Enjoyed all the little experiments and creating the busy little people and having time to embellish, just finished in time for the renaissance of our tourist business in the summer months unless lightening strikes again.....
The first stage
Monday, 15 June 2020
Here's a video of the waterfalls a few kms from Cuacos de Yuste, really wonderful to see and hear all that crashing water. Best to see video with full screen.